15: Epistemology and Logic in Buddhism

Tue., Aug. 19th, 09:00-17:30 | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-17:30

“There is Nothing Charming about Harlots” – Madhyamaka and the Coherence in Meaning

Bogacz, Szymon (Center of Comparative Studies of Civilizations, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, POL)

Nāgārjuna probably did not hold any definitive logical theory; nevertheless, his arguments are clearly based on some rules. Thus, we can bring up the question: what are these rules?

Jay Garfield and Graham Priest in [2003] argue, that Nāgārjuna holds some specific thesis, i.e. a thesis regarding “the limits of thought” (LT). What is interesting about the LT-thesis, is that it is paraconsistent, that is to say that it can be both contradictory and true (conventionally or absolutely). To be more specific, the LT-thesis is syntactically well-built and bears semantic characteristics. In consequence, Nāgārjuna uses some syntactical and semantical rules.

In my paper I will try to answer the question about rudiments of Nāgārjuna's theory of language, in order to criticize the LT-thesis interpretation of Garfield and Priest.

Generally, there are three ways to define Nāgārjuna’s attitude towards the nature of language. The first one, the so called “skillful-means” (upāya kauśalya) way, presents statements as non-descriptive teachings towards Buddhist practice. The second one, derived from the prasaṅgika tradition, takes the madhyamika’s statements to be devoid of their own philosophical position – Nāgārjuna’s statements are just the consequences of the opponent's standpoint in the light of his own methods. The third one, derived from the svātantrika tradition, allows the madhyamika to use positive arguments and to hold his own standpoint.

I will argue that only the third way (the svātantrika interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s philosophy) is a possible way to posit the LT-thesis interpretation. Moreover, I will lay out the thesis that consistency is an essential feature of a meaningful sentence in svātantrika. In order to do so, I will refer to Bhavyaviveka, who in the Prajñāpradīpa [Ames 1994, 226] states that without coherence in meaning (asaṃgatārtha) of the thesis (pratijñā) there can be no proof (sādhana) for this thesis, just like for the incoherent sentence “there is nothing charming about harlots”. Indeed, to take the argument further, the LT-thesis in Nāgārjuna’s argumentation cannot be both based on svātantrika semantical rules and at the same time paraconsistent.


Phya pa’s Understanding regarding the Proof of Momentariness in the Svabhāvahetu Section of the Pramāṇaviniścaya

Choi, Kyeong-jin (Tokyo, JPN)

The topic of the proof of momentariness in association with the svabhāvahetu in Pramāṇaviniścaya (PVin) has been noted particularly because it has the earliest use of the concept of bādhakapramāṇa in this context. As Steinkellner (in his paper published in 1968) pointed out and many contemporary scholars accept, this earliest occurrence of bādhakapramāṇa and sattvānumāna in PVin is worth stressing when one considers the history of the theory of momentariness in Buddhist epistemology. Since modern scholars were familiar with the concept of bādhakapramāṇa from Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya, they highly evaluated the portion of PVin that includes the bādhakapramāṇa. From such a viewpoint, the assertion by Dharmottara in his commentary on PVin that the causelessness of extinction (ahetutva) is an assistant (parikara) to the bādhakapramāṇa and what proves the establishment of pervasion is bādhakapramāṇa, seems to makes sense. From that perspective, rGyal tshab Dar ma rin chen, who is influenced by Dharmottara’s stance on the function of bādhakapramāṇa, can be seen as expressing an appropriate insight when he says that the bādhakapramāṇa is the primary reason for the establishment of pervasion of the proof of momentariness in his commentary on PVin.

On the other hand, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge has a dissimilar outlook from rGyal tshab’s on the overall structure of the argument in the section where Dharmakīrti explains the svabhāvahetu and the proof of momentariness. It can be said that the difference in their views of the whole composition of PVin is derived from the variance in their understandings of the effect of discussing bādhakapramāṇa separately from the proof based on the nirapekṣatva (or ahetutva). Phya pa’s position on the issue of the function of the bādhakapramāṇa is also different from both rGyal tshab’s stance and modern scholars’ belief.

For that reason, in this paper, I will consider the content of Phya pa’s interpretive outline (sa bcad) relative to this portion in his commentary on PVin in order to show how he understood the theory of svabhāvahetu. In particular, I will show that he sees the function of the proof of momentariness based on the nirapekṣatva, rather than the bādhakapramāṇa, as fundamental in this theory. Phya pa understood the thrust of Dharmakīrti’s explanation to be aimed at describing how svabhāvahetu has validity as a logical reason, and as such, the proof of momentariness is nothing more than an example to exhibit that svabhāvahetu actually works as a valid logical reason. When viewed in this way, it becomes clear that the idea of nirapekṣatva is more suitable than the bādhakapramāṇa as the representative of svabhāvahetu. His position warrants attention in that it differs significantly from Dharmottara’s, which heavily informs the current scholarly view of this section of PVin.


The Epistemology of Emptiness: Dharmakīrti’s Yogācāra Response to the Problem of Conventional Truth in Mahāyāna

Guerrero, Laura (Utah Valley University, Utah, USA)

In this paper I first argue that the ultimate positions of the Yogācāra and the Madhyamaka amount to the same metaontological position: global antirealism. Using David Chalmer’s characterization of antirealism as the position that denies that there are any objective answers to the basic question of ontology, “what exists?,” I argue that the Yogācāra as well as the Madhyamaka must agree that no objective answers can be given to that question and thus that both positions are anti-realist. In light of this similarity I conclude that the Yogācāra shares with the Madhyamaka the problem of explaining the sense in which conventional truth is true. Since neither view can appeal to the way the world ultimately is in order to explain truth at the conventional level, they both must offer an alternative account of truth at the conventional level that is robust enough to support truth as a normative concept.

In light of this conclusion I then argue further that the Yogācāra is in a better position to address this problem than the Madhyamaka. In particular, I will argue that Dharmakīrti, read as a Yogācārin, provides an account of conventional truth that is robust enough to support truth as normative while at the same time being consistent with an ultimately anti-realist position.


Dharmottara’s Investigation on Conceptual Cognition

Ishida, Hisataka (Tokyo University, Tokyo, JPN)

Dharmottara’s (ca. 8th cent. C.E.) Apohaprakaraṇa is known as a work that exclusively discusses the apoha theory (the theory of exclusion), the representative linguistic theory held by the Buddhist epistemological tradition. One finds, however, that the Apohaprakaraṇa investigates not only linguistic problems but also the structure of conceptual cognition (vikalpa) in detail.

In this presentation, I discuss Dharmottara’s understanding of conceptual cognition and especially how he distinguishes its object, which is described as fabricated (āropita) from the aspect to be grasped (grāhyākara), with which appearance in cognition (ābhāsa) is identified. Further, I elucidate the relationship between conceptual cognition and external objects and describe how a person can act toward the latter.

To reinforce the interpretation of the Apohaprakaraṇa, which is extant today only in the Tibetan translation, I also refer to Dharmottara’s other works, such as the Pramāṇaviniścayaṭīkā.


Horns in Dignāga’s Theory of apoha

Kataoka, Kei (Kyushu University, Fukuoka, JPN)

According to Dignāga, the word “cow” makes one understand all cows in a general form by excluding non-cows. However, how does one understand the non-cows to be excluded? Hattori [1977:48] answers as follows: “On perceiving the particular which is endowed with dewlap, horns, a hump on the back, and so forth, one understands that it is not a non-cow, because one knows that a non-cow (e.g., a horse, an elephant, or the like) is not endowed with these attributes.” Hattori regards observation of a dewlap, etc. as the cause of excluding non-cows. Akamatsu [1980] presents a view similar to Hattori’s. Tanizawa [1998], however, criticises Akamatsu by pointing out that then the apohavādin would have accepted positive elements such as a dewlap as defining characteristics of a cow. Stating that X is not a cow because it is not endowed with a dewlap, etc., amounts to accept that the dewlap, etc. are the defining characteristics of a cow. Instead of a real universal cowness the apohavādin would have accepted a dewlap, etc. Akamatsu’s understanding of apoha, if it was correct, implies Tanizawa, would destroy the essence of the Buddhist theory of apoha. Continuing the view of Hattori and Akamatsu, Yoshimizu recently published two articles on Dignāga’s theory of apoha. He claims that “the word ‘‘cow’’ excludes all horses by virtue of the fact that horns are never seen on them.” Thus, the word ‘‘cow’’ can exclude all of them collectively by virtue of the fact that none of them has all the members of the set of characteristics that form the worldly definition of ‘‘cow’’. Horns, one of the characteristic features of cows, are indeed mentioned by Dignāga in PS(V) 5:43. Yoshimizu understands Dignāga’s semantics as being parallel to the modern semantics of componential analysis. A question arises: what does Dignāga, the founder of the theory of apoha, really think regarding this issue? The present article sheds light on the incompatibility of the two interpretations by investigating the relevant source texts. It further shows that the issue Tanizawa deals with was already discussed by Dignāga. Tanizawa is right in his understanding of apoha if we consult Dignāga’s discussions. The interpretation by Hattori and other scholars is not supported by Dignāga’s text. The present conclusion is also supported by Mādhava, Uddyotakara and Kumārila. Neither of them assumes Dignāga’s theory to be as Hattori, etc. take it.


A Study on the Thoughts of Buddhist Logic of Mun-gwe

Kyu, Se (Joong-Ang Saṅgha University, Seoul, KOR)

This paper is to elucidate the thoughts of Buddhist logic of Mun-gwe who is assumed to be a Shilla person according to recent explorations. I made an attempt to examine Mun-gwe’s Buddhist logic from a new perspective, by avoiding general tendencies of concentrating on Gyu-gi (C.E. 632-862) in the studies on the Buddhist logic of East Asia.

It is essential to have the right understanding and logic in Buddhism, which is ultimately aiming at enlightenment. The translation of the Nyāyapraveśa in 647 by Hyun-jang (C.E. 602-664) inspired his disciples to write commentaries with special interest in this new territory. Gyu-gi completed the three volumes of the Nyāyapraveśaṭīkā that became a kind of textbook in the academic study on the Buddhist logic of East Asia.

Mun-gwe’s Nyāyapraveśaṭīkā needs to be noticed among the East Asian works on Buddhist logic since the writings of Mun-gwe are quoted several times in the writings of Gyu-gi and in the commentaries of other scholars. The life of Mun-gwe has not been described in detail, but today’s scholars assume that he was a Shilla person.

Gyu-gi made a lot of mistakes in the definition of insistence. Meanwhile, Mun-gwe gave a proposition by establishing an insistence in the combination of premise and conclusion which are generally approved. The cause and simile are the basis for forming the proposition as true because they are proofs.

In addition, Gyu-gi criticized the translation by Mun-gwe of “viśiṣṭatayā” as “distinguished”, claiming that it should be translated as “because [it is] distinguished”. Mun-gwe accepted the definition of Dignāga, which prescribes that insistence denotes the inseparable nature of property-possessor (dharmin) and property (dharma). Therefore, they are not different at all in terms of contents.

Next, one of the characteristics of the logic school, “the three phases” of the cause was established by Dignāga. Gyu-gi interpreted “sapakṣe sattvam” on the basis of the arrangement of the nine causes. In other words, Gyu-gi explained the respective meaning of words by separating sapakṣe and sattvam. However, Mun-gwe maintained that sattvam, which is the cause, as the characteristic of “already made (kṛtakatvam)” is definitely included in the waterpot of the sapakaṣe. It is certain that Mun-gwe’s comment reveals the thorough understanding of the thoughts and history of Buddhist logic of the pre-Dignāga era and Dignāga.

Accordingly, Gyu-gi committed an error in the definition of insistence and the understanding of “apakṣe sattvam” in the commentary of the Nyāyapravesa. On the contrary it is revealed that Mun-gwe understands the view of Dignāga well in his commentary.

The presumption that Mun-gwe could be a Shilla person might be true, even though it should be verified in a new survey of literature. His distinguished eyesight needs to be examined in detail in further studies.


On Infinite Regress: A New Interpretation of PSV. 1.12ab

Lo, King Chung (Leipzig University, Leipzig, GER)

This paper presents a new interpretation of st. 1.12ab in Pramāṇasumuccaya and -vṛtti (hereinafter PS and PSV), in which Dignāga accuses his opponent of having two fallacious consequences ensued from the claim that the cognition is cognized by another cognition, but not by itself. PS 1.12ab was first translated from Tibetan to English by Masaaki Hattori in 1968. Thereafter, a Sanskrit reconstruction of the first chapter of PSV was completed by Ernst Steinkellner in 2005. This reconstruction is based on two Tibetan translations and a fragmentary Sanskrit manuscript of Jinendrabuddhi's commentary. In 2010 and 2011, on a close reading of PS and PSV 1.11d-12, Birgit Kellner contributed two papers in which she explored a discourse upon the infinite regress. In general, Kellner's reading of the text is slightly different from that of Hattori but both read tatrāpi hi smṛtiḥ (PS 1.12b2) as a causal clause for aniṣṭhā (PS 1.12b1). However, this reading is problematic because there does not appear to be a causal relationship between the recollection of the cognition of the object-cognition and the infinite regress. Kellner, in her paper in 2011, did propose of addressing this problem, however, I am still not convinced. I therefore propose an alternative way to read PS and PSV 1.12 on the basis of the Tibetan translations and three commentaries by Jinendrabuddhi, Gyaltsab and Mi Pham. In my reading, aniṣṭhā and tatrāpi ca smṛtih are two independent fallacious consequences pointed out to Dignāga's opponent and the text then becomes concisely and rationally comprehensible. In addition, having read the text from a philosophical approach, as opposed to the philological approach adopted by Kellner and the others, I also work out a new interpretation on how the flaw of the infinite regress is pointed out to Dignāga's opponent and on what basis such an accusation is valid. My new interpretation and argument do also stand the test of the relevant explanation in Dharmakīrti's Pramāṇavārttika.


The Role of Symbols in Nāgārjuna’s Writings

Mason, Garth (University of South Africa, Pretoria, ZAF)

In my paper I will discuss the problem that Nāgārjuna argues that phenomena are clearly and immediately apparent due to their emptiness of substance. However, he does not provide adequate supporting arguments for this claim. His defence is that, since he has no thesis he has nothing to defend, since having a thesis would imply something to defend (VV29). Yet Nāgārjuna states in MK 24;14 and VV 70 respectively that phenomena are clearly and immediately apparent when emptiness is understood.

sarvaṃ ca yujyate tasya śūnyatā yasya yujyate /

sarvaṃ na yujyate tasya śūnyaṃ yasya na yujyate // [1]


prabhavati ca śūnyatéyaṃ yasya prabhavanti tasya sarvārthāḥ /
prabhavati na tasya kiṃcin na prabhavati śūnyatā yasya // [2]

The use of yujyate in MK 24:14 and prabhavati in VV70 suggest that palpability of phenomena in the context of time, space, duration of form in time, fixed ideas and movement are experienced due to pratītyasamutpāda in terms of their immediacy (yujyate) and intimacy (prabhavati) when śūnyatā is fully understood. Both these terms allude to meaningful encounters with specific original phenomena due to their emptiness. On the one hand, it would seem that if saṃvṛti (conceptual or conventional knowledge) is empty of substance, phenomena would be indiscernible due to their emptiness. So how does viewing phenomena as empty make them clearly and immediately meaningful, as Nāgārjuna claims? This paper argues that what can be deduced from Nāgārjuna’s assertion is that, when phenomena are viewed from the standpoint of emptiness, they have a clear, perhaps even luminous quality. Their meaning is not derived from a fixed term, but rather is dynamic and situated within relational factors. Nāgārjuna’s sense of śūnyatā, therefore, exudes a ‘quality’ of immediate clarity that is profoundly meaningful in the form of originary manifestations in space and time, but is also experienced as unrestricted by fixed conditions in space and time. I will assert that this ‘quality’ is not substantive, but rather metaphorically representational of śūnyatā, which lies beyond linguistic understanding. Representations of śūnyatā include time, space, duration of form in time, fixed ideas and movement. These representations should not be confused for things-in-themselves but should be understood, rather, as symbols for emptiness that cannot be linguistically described. Symbols, in this sense, are thought-constructs used to make sense of how śūnyatā is experienced – dynamic, recurring, unrestricted and persisting in space and time.

VV - Vigrahavyāvartanī
MK - Mūlamadhyamakakārikā

[1] MK 24;14 (in McCagney, N., 1997, Nāgārjuna and the philosophy of openness, Rowman & Littlefield, New York: 41).
[2] VV 70 (in Bhattacharya, K., 1986, The dialectical method of Nāgārjuna - Vigrahavyāvartanī: 84).


Śāntarakṣita on the Two Kinds of Arguments for Self-Awareness: sahopalambhaniyama and saṃvedana

Matsuoka, Hiroko (Kyoto University, Kyoto, JPN)

In his Pramāṇaviniścaya I, Dharmakīrti presents two kinds of arguments to prove self-awareness (svasaṃvedana). One is to establish that an object and its cognition are mutually non-different because both are necessarily perceived together (sahopalambhaniyama). And the other is to demonstrate that a cognition never cognizes anything as distinguished from the cognition itself because it is none other than cognition (saṃvedana).

This paper aims to show how Śāntarakṣita (c. 725–88) interpreted Dharmakīrti's development of the sahopalambhaniyama-argument and saṃvedana-argument in the Bahirarthaparīkṣā chapter of the Tattvasaṅgraha. I will also examine the relevant passages of the Śūnyavāda chapter of Kumārila’s Ślokavārttika.
Śāntarakṣita adduces these two kinds of arguments in order to counter Kumārila’s arguments which attempt to establish that an object and its cognition are different from each other. Moreover, Kumārila’s development of his arguments was directed to Dignāga’s view. Namely, in the Pramāṇasamuccaya I v.11, Dignāga argues that a cognition has two forms (dvirūpatā), i.e., the form of the grasped and that of the grasper, and that such a cognition is cognized by itself (svasaṃvedyatā). He also claims that these two points are to be accepted on the basis of the empirical fact that both the grasped and the grasper are remembered together. It is beyond question that Kumārila was aware of these points made by Dignāga, when he presented his arguments.
In conclusion, the reason Dharmakīrti developed his arguments was, according to Śāntarakṣita, to defend Dignāga’s theory of self-awareness against the attack by Kumārila.


Two Objects for Two Cognitions of the Same Thing

Mc Allister, Patrick (Cluster “Asia and Europe”, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, GER)

It is a commonplace that, for Buddhists in the logico-epistemological tradition following Dharmakīrti, there are only two (regular) means of valid cognition (pramāṇa-s): perception and inference.

Whilst this position is ubiquitious in the writings of the tradition, there is little in the way of a systematic evaluation of the arguments advanced to support this position: why are there only two such means? What were the alternatives? How was the theory proven and defended?

I would like to investigate Prajñākaragupta’s arguments about this matter. For this, I will examine a few passages from the Pramāṇavārttikālaṅkāra, an imposing work of the late eighth or early ninth century CE, which presents itself as a commentary on a text of seminal importance for the whole of Indian logic, Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika. The text, however, goes far beyond Dharmakīrti’s verses, and is a witness to lively and creative discussions amongst Indian intellectuals.

I will try to give an overview of the arguments that Prajñākaragupta makes about the two means of cognition, and compare them both with the arguments that Dharmakīrti made in this regard, and with those by Jñānaśrīmitra and Ratnakīrti, scholar-monks from around the late tenth/early eleventh century CE. From this comparison, it should be possible to see whether their argumentative strategies diverge.

The question is interesting if one considers how, as shown in recent work, Dharmakīrti’s notions of perception and inference underwent broad changes in the writings of Dharmottara, Jñānaśrīmitra, and Ratnakīrti. (Prajñākaragupta’s contributions have not been taken into such close consideration, no doubt owing to the shortcomings of the existing edition of the Pramāṇavārttikālaṅkāra.) For, if perception and conceptual cognition (of which inference is a subtype) are slowly assimilated, or even only thought of as depending on each other, then it seems that maintaining two separate means of valid cognition becomes a problematic position.

From this, I hope that it will be possible to see the general outline of the Buddhist reasons for, and defence of, the claim that there are only two means of valid cognition, and to see whether an important shift in Buddhist epistemology from the eighth century onwards had any impact on these claims.


Meditation and Indian Philosophical Theories

Pecchia, C̄ristina (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

The paper will consider “roads taken and not taken” in the study of Indian philosophical texts, focusing on the theme of meditation. Modern scholars have mostly adopted either a philosophical approach or a historical-philological one. They have often tended to develop assessments or explanations of the philosophical ideas expounded in those texts, distinguishing the philosophical from the religious. Meditation, yogic perception, or mystic experiences have frequently been marginal topics. In this connection, I shall examine the case of the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti and discuss viable and given interpretations of some passages closely related to Buddhist doctrinal statements.


Relations, Modality and Dependent Origination

Picard, Michael (Douglas College, Coquitlam, BC, CAN)

Ronkin (2005) sheds light on the Abhidhamma theory of causation in two respects: by replacing substance metaphysics with a process metaphysics; and by understanding causal conditioning in place of cause-effect relationship.  The law of kamma is not a universal law of causation, but an ethicized account of invariant relations among mental and physical processes involved in the generation of saṃsāric (i.e., everyday) experience. The theory of Dependent Origination (DO) explicates the origins, not of external objects, but of the mental and physical processes that bind us or lead to liberation. 

Ronkin expresses her discovery as the realization that DO is “not about causation at all”, since the cause-effect relation is rejected in favour of a set of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient. Despite this overstatement (after all, DO is about causal conditioning), Ronkin does not go far enough. While her interpretation is an attractive alternative to causation conceived as an object-object relation, it is logically inadequate to deal with the subtle forms of dependency catalogued in the Paṭṭhāna. In its place, the current paper advances a modal analysis of the forms of dependencies (necessary relations) in the Paṭṭhāna.

Physical, ethical and logical necessity constitute different modalities, implying distinct assumptions in the underlying modal logics. Intuitively, physical necessity is a different modality than ethical or logical necessity. Likewise, the modalities of causality are not captured in standard forms of deontic logic or in the semantics of the well-known systems of modal logic. The subtle forms of dependency that can be expressed in quantified modal logic are more varied than those that can be formulated in modal sentence logic. A modal analysis of the forms of dependency distinguished and classified in the theory of 24 relations (paccaya) promises a more subtle account of the various forms of metaphysical interconnectedness in early Buddhist metaphysics than Ronkin’s univocal account of causal conditioning allows.

The point can be made with reference to the canonical summary formation of DO: “that being so, this will be so; that not being so, this will not be so”. This general statement expresses the relation between successive links in the twelve factor chain.  But it cannot be meant that each link is a necessary and sufficient condition for the next, since, as Ronkin points out, the whole chain will collapse if any one relation is broken. On the contrary, within this general formula are various forms of conditionality, which the Paṭṭhāna is intended to clarify. The theory of relations catalogues various sorts of ontological dependency precisely in order to explicate differences in how a given link is dependent upon others, i.e., to reveal the different modalities of dependency collapsed within the general formula. Nowhere is this more important than at the juncture between sensation and volition, where habit is the operative modality of necessity, but is subject to change. Indeed meditation is observation of sensations without movement of the will, which breaks the chain of DO and initiates the process of liberation.


“Fire is cold because it is a substance.” On the Modes of Referring to Textual Evidences of Early Naiyāyikas in Dharmakīrti's Vādanyāya and its Commentary Vipañcitārthā by Śāntarakṣita

Prets, Ernst (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, AUT)

In the Vādanyāya, Dharmakīrti intends to give a clear and decisive answer to the Nyaiyāyika’s view of the “points of defeat” (nigrahasthāna). He mainly quotes the Nyāyasūtras, Pakṣilasvāmin’s Nyāyabhāṣya, and the Nyāyavārttika of Uddyotakara to refute their respective positions. In his Vādanyāyaṭīkā called Vipañcitārthā, Śāntarakṣita in addition quotes textual evidences of the so-called lost Naiyāyikas of whom only names, titles of works, and fragments survived. The paper aims at an analysis of the “quotations” of Dharmakīrti and his correspondence to the textual transmission of the early Naiyāyikas. Additionally, the main purpose of the paper is to investigate the various types of attestations of the “fragments” of the so-called lost Naiyāyikas in Śāntarakṣita’s Vipañcitārthā. Śāntarakṣita frequently quotes passages of Aviddhakarṇa’s and Bhāvivikta’s works (both of them are said to have written a Nyāyabhāṣyaṭīkā) in the Vipañcitārthā. It is not only understood that they have written Nyāyabhāṣyaṭīkās, but most likely also commentaries on the Bṛhaspatisūtra. This raises the question of whether Aviddhakarṇa, obviously a kind of nickname, and Bhāvivikta might be the same person.


Pratyabhijñā Śaiva Contributions to the Buddhist Apoha (Exclusion) Theory of Concept Formation

Prueitt, Catherine (Emory University, Atlanta, USA)

My presentation focuses on Śaiva contributions to inter-traditional debates about apoha in medieval Kashmir at a key moment in the evolution of this theory, as disputes between the highly developed local Śaiva philosophical traditions and scholars from the great universities of the Gangetic plains, Nālandā and Vikramaśīla, produced a florescence of new interpretations. Studying Buddhist works on apoha in light of Kashmiri Śaiva critiques and appropriations will contribute to a clearer understanding of this pivotal theory than is possible through reference to Buddhist works alone. My presentation will shed particular light on one of the most contested aspects of apoha theory: whether or not the most basic differentiation between subject and object that occurs in normal human perception is itself formed through apoha. In their original formulation of apoha, Dignāga (5th  c.) and Dharmakīrti (7th  c.) draw a clear line between the emergence of subject/object duality and later conceptual processes. This line, however, became increasingly blurred as apoha theory continued to evolve over the next five centuries until late Indian Mahāmudrā (“Great Seal”) traditions reverse this position to claim that even the most basic othering of subject from object is already conceptual. Precisely how and when this change occurred remains an open question, but it is clear that it was forged within the crucible of inter-traditional debates in turn-of-the-millennium Kashmir.

I will address this question by examining the works of the Śaiva polymath Abhinavagupta (10th-11th  c.), a non-dualist proponent of the Pratyabhijñā (“Recognition”) tradition known for reworking key theories, including the apoha theory, from post-Dharmakīrtian Buddhism. Fundamentally shaped by the ideas of his Buddhist interlocutors, Abhinavagupta’s commentaries on his tradition’s root text, the Verses on the Recognition of the Lord (Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā) provide an insightful perspective on how apoha was understood during his time. They also argue, against Dharmakīrti but in line with some later Buddhist interpretations, that the emergence of subject/object duality is itself already conceptual. Abhinavagupta’s reworking of Dharmakīrti’s apoha theory relies heavily on a subtle shift in Dharmakīrti’s definition of a concept. Instead of applying only to an awareness that is capable of being conjoined with linguistic expression (abhilāpa-saṃsarga-yogya-pratibhāsā pratītiḥ kalpanā), as Dharmakīrti contends, Abhinavagupta considers any awareness presenting a duality to be conceptual and formed through apoha. This includes the mere presentation of subject/object duality. Abhinavagupta thereby uses Dharmakīrti’s theories to argue that the formation of subject/object duality is conceptual—even though Dharmakīrti himself explicitly rejects this claim.

It is an open question to what degree this definitional shift tracks a changed interpretation within Dharmakīrti’s own tradition, and to what degree it is a clever innovation within Abhinavagupta’s tradition. My presentation will also contain preliminary references to the 10th  century Buddhist convert Śaṅkaranandana’s newly-rediscovered Verses on the Establishment of Other-Exclusion (Anyāpohasiddhikārikā), the text on which Abhinavagupta based his interpretation of Dharmakīrti on apoha. Fortunately, a manuscript of the text has recently been found and is being edited by a team of scholars led by Vincent Eltschinger. Seeing whether or not Śaṅkaranandana’s work suggests Abhinavagupta’s take on the nature of a concept should shed significant light on this question.


Arcaṭa on the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa and trairūpya in Dharmakīrti’s sattvānumāna

Sakai, Masamichi (Kansai University, Osaka, JPN)

Dharmakīrti’s inference of momentariness (kṣaṇikatva) from the property “being existent” (sattva) created a number of interpretational tasks for his successors. In this inference, pervasion (vyāpti) of the reason property (hetu) “existence” by the target property (sādhya) “momentariness” is proved by the so-called viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, the source of knowledge that defeats the occurrence of a reason property in any inferential site (pakṣa) where the opposite of the target property is present. In his Hetubindu, Dharmakīrti asserts that this existence-momentariness pervasion is inclusive of everything (sarvopa­saṃ­hāra­vat). If this pervasion is established via the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, and if it includes everything, then it is logical to think that for the purpose of proving the momentariness of a certain inferential site, e.g. sound (śabda), it is sufficient to simply present the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa, since the site “sound” is included in the domain of the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, which is itself an inferential argument whose one part is also “existence.” But this logical con­se­quence forces one to abandon the significance of the so-called threefold characteristic (trairūpya) of a good reason property. This is because 1) an example of a similar case (sādharmyadr̥ṣṭānta), e.g. a pot (ghaṭa), is no longer needed for proving a site to be momentary—the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa itself is capable of doing so, without an example—and because 2) given that the site is included in the category of “everything,” it becomes useless to point out that the particular site possesses the reason property “being existent” (pakṣadharmatā). So, does Dharmakīrti, in the case of his inference of momentariness, forsake the threefold characteristic? If so, then why does he take such an anti-traditional position? And must he do so? But if not, then how is the threefold characteristic related to the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa, and what kind of role could the threefold characteristic have? Satisfactorily answering these questions is a task that inevitably falls to Dharmakīrti’s followers. Arcaṭa, one commentator of Dharmakīrti, indeed tackles the task, and his take on the issue seems to have been influential among later Buddhist logicians, such as Dharmottara and Ratnākara­śānti. In his Hetubinduṭīkā, Arcaṭa appears to accept that, in Dharmakīrti’s in­ference of momentariness based on existence, the second trairūpya condition is merely conceptual and thus of no use. Moreover, he explains the reason why this should be the case. As to the first trairūpya condition, Arcaṭa is silent. However, with the help of his com­men­tator, Durvekamiśra, we may make some conjectures about his view. Basing myself on Arcaṭa’s own statement in the Hetubinduṭīkā and Durvekamiśra’s commentary thereon, in my paper I would like to clarify Arcaṭa’s understanding of the logical relation between the viparyaye bādhaka­­pra­māṇa and the trairūpya condition in Dharmakīrti’s inference of mo­men­tari­ness from existence.


Acceptance and Interpretation of Dharmakīrti’s Theory of nigrahasthāna in the Nyāya School

Sasaki, Ryo (Waseda University, Hiroshima-ken, JPN)

The point of defeat (nigrahasthāna), the rules of which determine victory or defeat of a disputant and an opponent, was systematically arranged in the Nyāyasūtra for the first time in the history of Indian thought. That is to say, the Nyāyasūtra did not only enumerate the twenty-two points of defeat but set up misunderstanding (vipratipatti) and non-understanding (apratipatti) which are the more fundamental concepts including the twenty-two items.

The definition of these points of defeat in the Nyāyasūtra was contradicted by Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya. Quoting from the Nyāyabhāṣya and the Nyāyavārttika, Dharmakīrti criticized the twenty-two points of defeat of the Nyāya school one by one and uniquely redefined the term nigrahasthāna as two new concepts, asādhanāṅgavacana (the point of defeat for a disputant) and adoṣodbhāvana (the point of defeat for an opponent), from the position of his theory of Buddhist logic. When he defined the point of defeat, he did not refer to the traditional concept of misunderstanding and non-understanding by the Nyāya school.

There are diverse arguments about Dharmakīrti’s new thoughts on the point of defeat in the later works of the Nyāya school. Among them, the explanation shown by Bhaṭṭa Jayanta’s Nyāyamañjarī is interesting. Jayanta held that when asādhanāṅgavacana and adoṣodbhāvana are interpreted by implicative negation (paryudāsa), these two concepts are equal to misunderstanding, and when asādhanāṅgavacana and adoṣodbhāvana are interpreted by simple negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), these two concepts are equal to non-understanding. In this way, Jayanta absorbed Dharmakīrti’s definition of the point of defeat by reinterpreting the traditional thought of the Nyāya school.

Dharmakīrti’s definition, however, includes criticism of the Nyāya school. If we literally interpret Jayanta’s argument adopting Dharmakīrti's idea, it seems as if Jayanta had also come to accept his criticism. In order to avoid this problem, Jayanta modified Dharmakīrti’s theory by making it correspond with the Nyāya theory. On the surface Jayanta seems to accept Dharmakīrti's thought completely, but actually he tried to maintain the superiority of the Nyāya school over Dharmakīrti.


On the Issue of “Excluding the Subject of Proposition”

Shen, Haiyan (Shanghai University, Shanghai, CHN)

As the founder of the new form of Hetuvidyā in India, Dignāga (c. 440–520) established a milestone for the development of Indian logic advancing from the method of analogy in the old form of Hetuvidyā to the method of deduction with the characteristic of inductive argumentation. The significance of his contribution to Hetuvidyā is beyond any doubt. However, some scholars in China reached the conclusion that Dignāga’s Hetuvidyā does not bear the feature of deduction due to their misunderstanding of the rule set by Dignāga concerning “excluding the subject of proposition in a similar example” (Chu Zongyoufa 除宗有法) , and they misinterpreted it to such an extent as to apply that to the dissimilar example as well as to the main body of the example. This paper points out the fallacy of such a view by examining Dignāga’s rule from several perspectives in order to demonstrate the authentic nature of Dignāga’s new form of Hetuvidyā.


On Dharmakīrti's Formula for Ascertaining Causality and Its Alleged Failure to Solve the Problem of Induction

Steinkellner, Ernst (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, AUT)

In conceiving of “induction” and a “problem of induction” in connection with interpreting a classical Indian philosopher we best follow the definition of induction current since Francis Bacon's “Novum Organum” of 1620 until the middle of the 19th century (John Stewart Mills).

Brendan Gillon's critique (1991: 57) of Dharmakīrti's formulation of a method for ascertaining a causal relation (PVSV 22,2-4 and 6f on PV 1.34) seems to be valid in regard to his statement as it was interpreted until now by all, including myself. In the meantime, my interpretation has changed, as will be shown. Moreover, there are sufficient indications that Dharmrti and his tradition were aware of the induction problem and offered a solution hitherto not considered. The case definitely has to be re-opened.


Transcendental Logic and Spiritual Development – Following Dignāga's and Kant’s Critical Epistemology

Wang, Gustav Chun-Ying (Dept. of Philosophy, National Chengchi University, Taipei, TWN)

In the commentary literature of Dignāga’s epistemology and the commentary literature of Kant’s epistemology, an interpretation controversy on how to take the faculties, especially with regard to their ontological assumption, can be observed. The question whether these two epistemological systems should be taken without any ontological assumption and how to do this constitutes the initial problem of this investigation. The epistemology in both Dignāga and Kant is not isolated. It is at the service of practical need. Whether and how the epistemology works in each of the Buddhist and Kant’s grander projects of practice is the second problem of the investigation. The contribution of the investigation into these problems rests on answering the second by determining the first. Raising two challenges against the epistemology with ontological assumption, the investigation suggests that epistemology had better be done critically and radically in methodological isolation. Then, the investigation tries to establish reasonable and coherent reconstructions of these two epistemic systems with the suggested attitude. Being reasonable and coherent means: if (a) more interpretation discrepancies in the commentary traditions would be explained away and (b) a stronger and more coherent significance of the role of epistemology in the context of the higher plan of both Dignāga and Kant would be obtained. Not only the critical interpretation is then suggested to be more plausible than the ontic interpretation, but it is indeed also indicated that the two epistemic systems can better sustain themselves with the non-ontic development. With the non-ontic reconstruction, both the idea of intellectual intuition and the idea that self-awareness is either phenomenal or conceptual are rejected. In this scenario, it follows that, in Buddhism, the relation between Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra can be a compatible continuum, insofar as the special non-ontic state that the negation of Madyhamaka’s emptiness and the determination of the Yogācāra’s epistemic conditions equally share, can be identified in methodological isolation. As for Kant, the investigation offers an argument for practical reason's surpassing position over theoretical reason and its significance to the theory of freedom in Kant.


Buddhist Critiques of the Sāṅkhya Theory of Causality: Dharmakīrti and His Predecessors

Watanabe, Toshikazu (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

For a long time, Indian Buddhists criticized the Sāṅkhya causal theory called satkāryavāda (the doctrine that effects are already latent within their causes) and two relating theories which support the satkāryavāda: the theory of transformation (pariṇāma) and the theory of manifestation (abhivyakti). Whereas some of the criticisms are routinely adopted as well-worn arguments in their philosophical treatises, the Buddhists continuously tried to elaborate their criticisms by adding new ontological or epistemological ideas in order to respond to the more developed Sāṅkhya theory. Dharmakīrti’s (ca. 600-660) criticism of the Sāṅkhya theory of causality can be regarded as its final form and is most influential for the later Buddhist thinkers such as Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla: much of their description against Sāṅkhya causality in their Tattvasaṅgraha and Pañjikā is based on Dharmakīrti’s writings.

In my previous article (“Dharmakīrti’s Criticism of Anityatva in the Sāṅkhya Theory” JIP 39 4-5, 2011), I showed that in the third chapter of his Pramāṇaviniścaya Dharmakīrti criticizes the Sāṅkhya theory of transformation on the basis of Vasubandhu’s criticism reinforced with Dharmakīrti’s new concept of non-cognition (anupalabdhi) and causal efficacy (arthakriyāśakti). However, there are still some other arguments against the Sāṅkhya theory of causality in the same chapter of the PVin and in his later work Vādanyāya. I will examine these passages in the first part of my paper.

Furthermore, this examination reveals that some of the Sāṅkhya theories mentioned by Dharmakīrti are also dealt with by another Yogācāra teacher, Dharmapāla (ca. 530-561), in his 大乗広百論釈論, which is a commentary on the latter half of Āryadeva's Catuḥśataka and which is extant only in Chinese translation. This fact suggests that Dharmapāla and Dharmakīrti share a common philosophical background with regard to the Sāṅkhya theory of causality, which is also the case concerning their arguments about scriptures (āgama) as Prof. Tillemans has already pointed out. To make this point more clear, I will analyze relevant passages in the works of Dharmapāla, the Madhyamaka philosopher Bhāviveka (ca. 490-570), and the Naiyāyika Uddyotakara (ca. 550-610) that are directed against the Sāṅkhya theory of causality and compare them with that of Dharmakīrti. Finally, based on the Sāṅkhya theory extracted from these criticisms, I will discuss the role of Buddhist criticism in the development of Sāṅkhya causal theory.


Contrasting Buddhist and Naiyāyika Explanations of Attention

Watson, Alex (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA)

In the last decade or so, ‘attention’ has become a central topic in contemporary Philosophy of Mind.  In this paper I take four aspects of attention, and in each case contrast a Buddhist* no-self account and a Naiyāyika account that appeals both to a self and a manas, the latter considered to be a substance the size of a single atom that rushes around the body from sense-faculty to sense-faculty.   The first three of the four aspects of attention that I will look at are: (1) What are shifts of attention brought about by? (2) How are competitions for attention settled? (3) Is there a separate subject of attention for each act of attention?  In the final section I consider the assumption of contemporary western attitudes to attention that we are simultaneously aware of one thing with attention, and aware of other things without attention.  I suggest that this idea is not to be found in Classical India – that for both the Buddhists and the Naiyāyikas each moment has only awareness with attention (of one object); it does not have any awareness without attention of other objects.  I point out that this does not mean, however, that the Indian theories cannot explain what the contemporary theories seek to explain.  The Buddhist explanation involves appealing to the shortness of moments and the Naiyāyika explanation involves appealing to the speed of the manas.

*The branch of Buddhism I am talking about is that found in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośabhāṣya and in Dignāga and Dharmakīrti’s Epistemological ‘School’.

IABS 2014 | Universitätsring 1  | 1010 Wien